Zuniga: Uruguay are strong even without Suarez

The South Americans are due to clash in round of 16 but Suarez could be banned pending the result of a Fifa investigation into an incident involving Giorgio Chiellini

By Peter Staunton in Cuiaba

Uruguay could well be without Luis Suarez for their World Cup last 16 tie against Colombia as the striker faces a Fifa investigation into an alleged biting incident involving Italy’s Giorgio Chiellini, but Juan Camilo Zuniga says that even without the Liverpool man Uruguay will provide formidable opposition.

Suarez could face a two-year ban by Fifa as video evidence can be used in the investigation against him. Nonetheless with Edinson Cavani and Diego Forlan also in the Uruguayan ranks, Zuniga believes a threat remains.

“We know that even without Suarez they have players who can make the difference,” Zuniga told Goal. “They have have forwards who play very well. When they have the ball and you give them a little bit of space they can take advantage.”

Colombia face Uruguay on Saturday in the Maracana and Zuniga believes that Uruguay’s defeats of England and Italy show that they are still a force to be reckoned with.

“We know it’s going to be a very difficult game,” he said. “They won their last game against Italy and they put in a lot of courage. They are the type of team that when they need to win they win.

“However, we are preparing well for this game. We know it’s not easy but we go on. We are thinking only about working well in these next two or three days ahead of this important game.”

Team-mate Fredy Guarin stressed that until such time thatg Suarez was ruled out then all eventualities must be considered.

“We don’t know if he’s suspended yet,” he told Goal. Until he is ruled out then we prepare for everything. The important thing is to prepare whether he is in the squad or not.”

Colombia defeated Japan 4-1 in their final Group C game in Cuiaba to finish on a maximum nine points. The goals came through Juan Cuadrado, James Rodriguez and a double from Jackson Martinez.

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